The Honest Truth About Superheroes and CRPS

Has your physical therapist been suggesting standing like a superhero as a cortisol-lowering treatment for your complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

Well, s/he might just be slumping her or his shoulders in light of new information…

Strike a Pose

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about… A 2012 paper reported that standing in “power poses” (imagine Superman with his hands on his hips), increased testosterone and lowered cortisol levels. In chronic pain management, high concentrations of cortisol in the blood is considered an excellent marker for uncontrolled pain. In addition, some researchers think cortisol may actually worsen pain all by itself.

So, following that line of thinking, doing something to lower cortisol might be a good way to also lower pain levels.

Except it doesn’t.

Say, What??

Apparently, the study—beloved of attention-grabbing headline writers everywhere—didn’t reflect stellar scientific inquiry.

Which just goes to show that there’s a reason old-adages such as, “take it with a grain of salt” exist. People living with chronic illnesses need to remember that skepticism is an ally. Grab onto hope, but remember to do your research and always, ALWAYS listen to what your body tells you is true .



EmpatheticBadass is a young-at-heart writer from Ohio (Go, Bobcats & The Marching 110!)) who is passionate about being a voice for the patient perspective.

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